Aunt Dimity Digs In by Nancy Atherton turned out to be a surprisingly good read. It was, as the jacket promised, a cosy mystery that was perfect for reading on a wintery Sunday afternoon.
The story is set in Finch, a village in the English Cotswalds, peopled with a cast of good natured, but slightly eccentric characters including the usual village gossip, publican and vicar. Lori, the main protagonist, has been called upon to help find out who burgled a rare pamphlet from the vicarage, while at the same time, helping to save the Harvest Festival. The entire event is threatened due to an archaeological dig that requires the use of the one of the main venues. She is helped by the mysterious and supernatural Aunt Dimity, of whom I won’t reveal any more – I’d hate to spoil the story for anyone who might wish to read it.
There was a nice parallel between the archaeology team’s efforts to dig up the Roman past of Finch, and Lori’s need to dig up the past of each character. One by one each character’s past was gradually revealed, and warring parties found they had much more in common than they originally thought.
This was a light, entertaining read with a positive message about forgiveness and understanding. For a moment there, I even felt challenged to get a little more involved with my local community – a key theme of the book being about the folly of disconnecting from the people and the world around you.
Reminding me of Enid Blyton, food was featured throughout the book and a recipe for the oft-mentioned lemon bars was even included at the end. You can find it here.
Since my first visit to the library was a success, I decided to try my luck again yesterday morning. This time, I decided to explore the ‘B’ section.
I walked on and on, past authors with names like Binchy, Brown, Brooks, Bova and Bradford, feeling slightly discouraged. But finally, something jumped out.
A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book called to me from the shelves. Years ago, I read ‘Possession’ by the same author, and loved it, so I’m optimistic about this one. It’s unlikely to be a light read, however. The paperback version I have is the size of a house brick, and judging by her last book it will be full of fairly dense, literary language.
The school holidays officially began today – a good time to begin something a little more challenging.